Hundreds are expected to line the army airfield and the streets of Los Alamitos Thursday to pay respects to a Los Alamitos High School grad killed in Afghanistan.
Army Ranger Sgt. Thomas R. MacPherson’s remains will be returned to his family during a solemn Hero Mission at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. MacPherson was killed in Afghanistan Oct. 12. He leaves behind a wife and son and his parents in Long Beach.
During the Hero Mission MacPherson’s coffin will be flown in, landing at the Los Alamitos airfield where a Color Guard, family, friends and members of the community will gather to receive his flag-draped coffin. With permission from his family, MacPherson’s Hero Mission will be open to the public to give the community an opportunity to pay their respects.
According to Laura Herzog of the nonprofit Honoring the Fallen, MacPherson’s plane will land at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Supporters should arrive by 10:45 a.m. to park and line the airfield. For those who can’t attend the brief ceremony, Herzog is asking residents, schools or businesses along Lexington Drive at 12:15 p.m. to line the street and carry flags as the funeral procession makes its way to Forest Lawn in the moments after the coffin arrives. It’s an opportunity for the community to honor the MacPherson family’s sacrifice, said Herzog.
“It’s very meaningful for the family to see that their son honored,” said Herzog.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 26 at Cottonwood Church at 4505 Katella Ave, Los Alamitos, CA 90720.
MacPherson, 26, was killed by small arms fire in the Ghazni Province in Afghanistan as he led an assault against an enemy position, U.S. Army officials said.
MacPherson was a team leader assigned to Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. This was his fourth deployment to Afghanistan and he had also previously served one deployment in Iraq.
MacPherson is survived by his wife, Claudia MacPherson, and their son, Brayden, of Tacoma, Wash., and his parents, Troy and Diona MacPherson of Long Beach.